Music department spends more than $220,000 in grants on concert grand pianos

What price would you put on musical education? Fullerton College recently put $220,000 worth of grant money towards the most sophisticated and finely tuned pianos in the world, in an attempt to draw the best up-and-coming musicians to the campus.

During the summer of 2007-2008, Fullerton College’s Fine Arts Music Department was awarded the Vocational and Technology Education Act Grant, also known as VTEA, and the California Trailer Bill, both educational grants. With these, the music department was able to purchase one grand piano, two studio grand pianos, and four upright pianos from various parts of the world to hopefully bring in a variety of students.

Professor Markus Burger brought the full grand piano, a Bösendorfer — one of the most well known piano manufacturers in the world-to FL from Austria — at a final cost of about $86,000.

This rare grand comes equipped with eight octaves and 97 keys, and is “meant for students who will eventually teach(piano),” said Monica Lee, Director of Piano Studies, “It’s also a lifetime investment.”

One of the studio grand pianos, a Bluthner, is outfitted as a high-tech version of a player piano.

On the bottom right of the keyboard a large recording device is hooked into the keys that can record and playback songs preformed by students saved on a floppy disk. This is used as an advanced teaching system for students so they don’t have to have an advisor in the room while performing their work.

FC now has a much wider range of performing pianos by various producers.

“These pianos complete the school’s collection,” said Bob Jensen, Dean of Fine Arts.

These were not the only pianos looked at by the department. Professors Burger and Lee examined over a hundred pianos ranging from Yamahas to Kawais, as well as Bluthners, and others.

The Bösendorfer grand was purchased in Austria while Professor Burger was performing in Europe.

Some of these pianos were featured in the piano festival on January 26, including the Bösendorfer grand, which was played by many of the participants.

These majestic instruments were brought to this campus with the goals of advanced education and drawing in new students to the fine arts program.

There is a great excitement in the music department over these additions and the creative musicians they will bring in.

“These pianos are quality to bring in students,” said Mary Law, the Fine Arts Information and Marketing Representative.

They provide new tools for students considering a career in teaching the piano and even becoming renowned musicians one day.